BARBARA DIMMER capped an emotional evening at The News Sports Awards last night.
The Fareham School of Gymnastics coach scooped the prestigious lifetime achievement award at our gala ceremony.
Dimmer’s unstinting dedication meant she followed in the footsteps of Pompey’s Milan Mandaric and Alan Knight, boxing’s Jack Bishop and late athletics legend Gerry North.
Despite facing ill health, the gymnastics stalwart has pushed her club forward with her drive and determination to help change lives.
That ensured she was a worthy winner as she represented those volunteers who give up countless hours to make a difference in sport.
Southsea’s Kings Theatre played host to the event for the first time as The News Sports Awards celebrated its 13th year.
And it proved a worthy venue in which to laud the sporting excellence on show across our communities.
Great Britain’s Andy Vernon had his progress recognised as he became a back-to-back sportsman of the year winner. The athlete pipped golfer Scott Gregory to the title as he aims for a big year with the World Championships in Beijing.
It was another night to remember for a future Olympic hopeful as boxer Ebonie Jones picked up two awards.
The European champion took the young sportswoman of the year title with international gymnast Maisie Lloyd Jones runner-up.
Heart of Portsmouth’s recent Nations’ Cup winner and multi-titlist was also named runner-up in the sportswoman-of-the-year category.
The winner in that section was gymnast Kelly Simm, who capped a stellar year with golden glory at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
There was a fine turnout from Pompey, as a host of players and staff turned out and represented their club at the ceremony.
Jed Wallace capped another impressive 12 months as he was crowned Pompey player of the year for the second time on the bounce.
Paul Jones has made his mark at Fratton Park since arriving in the summer from Crawley.
That saw the keeper take runner-up plaudits.
Arthur Morley enjoyed a year which underlined he is a swimmer with a big future.
That saw him recognised as winner of the outstanding contribution to disabled sport award, with Bupa Great South Run junior wheelchair race winner Finnley Kenny runner-up.
Kenny’s stirring acceptance speech was a particular stand-out moment as he captured the hearts of those gathered inside a packed theatre.
The News’ head of sport, Mark McMahon, believes the evening once again showed the breadth and depth of sporting excellence on our doorsteps.
McMahon said: ‘We are delighted to be able to showcase such wonderful talent.
‘The awards never fail to lift the spirits and emotions and this year, of course, was no different.
‘We are very proud of what our sporting talent is achieving.’